Treasure Island

African Poems

(Africa)

Christopher Okigbo (Elegy for Alto)


(with drum accompaniment)
AND THE HORN may now paw the air howling goodbye…
For the Eagles are now in sight:
Shadows in the horizon-
THE ROBBERS are here in black sudden steps of showers, of
caterpillars-
THE EAGLES have come again,
The eagles rain down on us-
POLITICIANS are back in giant hidden steps of howitzers, of
detonators-
THE EAGLES descend on us,
Bayonets and cannons-
THE ROBBERS descend on us to strip us of our laughter, of our
thunder-
THE EAGLES have chosen their game,
Taken our concubines-
POLITICIANS are here in this iron dance of mortars, of
generators-

THE EAGLES are suddenly there,
New stars of iron dawn;
So let the horn paw the air howling goodbye…
O mother mother Earth, unbind me; let this be
my last testament; let this be
The ram's hidden wish to the sword the sword's
secret prayer to the scabbard-

THE ROBBERS are back in black hidden steps of detonators-
FOR BEYOND the blare of sirened afternoons, beyond
the motorcades;
Beyond the voices and days, the echoing highways; beyond
the latescence
Of our dissonant airs; through our curtained eyeballs,
through our shuttered sleep,
Onto our forgotten selves, onto our broken images;
beyond the barricades
Commandments and edicts, beyond the iron tables,
beyond the elephant's
Legendary patience, beyond his inviolable bronze
bust; beyond our crumbling towers-
BEYOND the iron path careering along the same beaten track-
THE GLIMPSE of a dream lies smouldering in a cave,
together with the mortally wounded birds.
Earth, unbind me; let me be the prodigal; let this be
the ram's ultimate prayer to the tether…

AN OLD STAR departs, leaves us here on the shore
Gazing heavenward for a new star approaching;
The new star appears, foreshadows its going
Before a going and coming that goes on forever…

Submitted: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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